Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Call to Ordinariness

It was early morning and I could smell the ocean on the breeze rushing past my face. The sun had not yet risen for the day. It was going to be a nice walk in solitude through the cool, wet sands of the beach – a good time to be alone with the Lord and enjoy His creation. As I stepped down from the boardwalk protecting the dunes that separated land and sea I was shocked by the amount of people already on the beach. What are all these people looking for this early in the morning?

We recently took a family vacation with Esther’s family in Myrtle Beach, SC. I always try and spend at least one morning walking the beach and praying when we are near the ocean. The noise of the crashing waves usually drowns out my distracting thoughts and I can concentrate on the Lord and what He is saying to me. It is a great place to listen. However, this morning I was shocked by the amount of people already on the beach. The sun wasn’t even up… what were they looking for?!

As I walked and prayed and quieted my thoughts, I observed them all. There were couples, individuals, and even dogs scouring the sands with their heads down. The concentration was intense as their eyes roved to and fro over the small section of beach at their feet. There was even a lady there with her metal detector and shovel ready for sunken treasure. They were looking for something extraordinary – the conch shell, or the cone or maybe even a star fish. With the backdrop of ocean-washed sand-castles from the day before, it was quite a picture.

Suddenly at my feet, I noticed a beautiful little brown shell. It was half of a broad-ribbed cardita. That’s a fancy name for an ordinary brown shell. There were thousands, maybe millions, of them on that beach. It was beautiful, but ordinary. It had probably been passed over numerous times before by the beach-combers, but not noticed due to its ordinariness.

Enjoying its beauty I asked the Lord, “Daddy, why did you make so many brown shells?” My thoughts turned to what the Lord was speaking to me about faithfulness from Ps. 101 that morning before my walk. My prayer was for the Lord to give me the strength to be faithful, to be consistent in my obedience to Him. I don’t want a bi-polar commitment to the Lord. In that quiet moment with the ordinary brown shell the Lord asked me, “Are you willing to be ordinary? Are you willing to faithfully walk in obedience to me and be unnoticed by those searching for the extraordinary?”

I realized then that faithfulness isn’t a call to oooh and ahhh the masses, it is a call to ordinariness. It is a call to do the unpopular tasks of life with joy and cheerfulness in worship before the Lord. It is in one sense, a call to consistently “change the diapers” in life and ministry, whether you are noticed or not. Sensing that it will cost me dearly to learn this lesson, I answered the Lord by saying “yes”. What about you? How will you answer His call to ordinariness?

No comments:

Post a Comment